Tuesday, June 21, 2011

herbs from the garden.

Being home this week has meant plenty of time in the garden and kitchen. Many herbs are nice and new right now (not woody or thick), perfect for using in herbal recipes. I love growing things that are not only tasty but also have other properties and uses. For me, I like building and experimenting a little more every year so that I can build up my recipes and experience, as well as find what things really work well for us and that we use often. It feels good to see bottles of hand crafted goodness from the garden. There are a bunch of things we have made this week - here are a few::


::mint apple cider vinegar hair rinse::

1 quart freshly picked mint leaves (you can use any type of mint you like/have)
2 cups of hot distilled water (not boiling, but very hot)
2 cups apple cider vinegar

Place your freshly picked leaves in a quart jar. Pour over the hot water and loosely cover. Let steep overnight.

Strain into a bottle, squeezing the mint to get all the liquid out. Add 2 cups of apple cider vinegar to the bottle.

To use, simply pour some over your hair in the shower, and massage into your scalp (don't get in your eyes). Let it sit a minute and rinse if you like. You can also leave it in, if you don't mind the slight vinegar aroma for awhile.

Together with the mint, the apple cider vinegar cleanses your scalp and removes residue buildup on your hair from styling products, soaps, shampoos and hard water. The mint also adds shine and balances out the strong smell of the cider.


::lemon balm astringent::

1 quart of freshly picked lemon balm leaves
3/4 cup good quality witch hazel
1/4 cups of hot distilled water (not boiling, but hot)**

**(I noticed this morning I put the wrong amount of water in the recipe - this is now correct. It is 1/4 cup water, not 2 cups. I suppose that is a risk when blogging late night!)

Add the freshly picked leaves to a quart jar. Add the hot water. Let it steep with the herbs and come down to room temp. Add the witch hazel. Cover and let steep overnight (or a few days). Strain into a bottle, squeezing the herbs to get all the liquid out. Keep in the fridge for a hot summer treat for your skin - use with a cotton ball as you would any facial astringent.

The leaves of lemon balm contain potent astringent and antibacterial properties. Witch Hazel extract has astringent, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, and anesthetic properties. This astringent can be used on your face and is nice stored in the refrigerator to cool and soothe a sunburn. It can also be used as a compress for eczema flare ups, sore muscles and plant rashes (poison ivy, nettles stings, etc.).

And in progress? Rose Water - to be made into linen/room freshening spray. It needs to steep a few weeks before ready.

Can't wait!

How are you using herbs from your garden?



moominmamma said...

Very impressive. Our herbs are still too diminutive for harvest: we have only just planted our frost-tender ones out, and are just barely through apple-blossom season. Spring has been so late here. It will be weeks before our roses are blooming: but you've inspired me to make use of the petals when they do!

Tara said...

It is always so satisfying to stop by here and read interesting recipes like these! I can just imagine the relief one experiences from your lemon balm astrigent on a hot summer day :)

We grew only a handful of herbs this year but copius amounts of basil ~ owen adores it.

Shady Lady said...

I am totally bookmarking this post! I want to make all of it, but I've got to start an herb garden first. This is so cool! Thanks so much for posting!!! You rock!

Stacy @ Sweet Sky said...

What a lovely post! I use a plain cider vinegar rinse now - I love the idea of the mint!

Anonymous said...

awesome Denise! thank you so much for these.

Francesca said...

thank you! I will try two of your recipes: I have to figure out what witch hazel is, and also see if I have enough roses left to make rose water, which sounds lovely.

--M said...

We have been harvesting mint and lemon balm here, too. Have you tried lemon balm pesto?

We tried making floral water (not rose, but other fragrant flowers), and so far it just smells like vodka.... Hm.

erin said...

Well i think i know what to do with all of the extra lemon balm seedlings hiding behind some plants that i didn't weed out:) That astringent sounds terrific. To date, we have just used herbs for teas, both hot and iced. My oldest, 9, fancies himself a cup of herbal tea some mornings and loves to collect his snipped herbs and boil his water and set it all up. He made us lavender, mint and lemon balm tea today, which we iced and drank outside in the shade. so good! working medicinally and therapeutically with herbs is something i want to do more of.

Anonymous said...

I'm totally soaking up all of your great herbal ideas! Thanks so much. Beautiful photos, garden...and now I just wish I'd bought and planted more medicinals. Next year.